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Small Claims Procedure

An informal complaint may be filed with the Commission for claims of $50,000 or less, and when an evidentiary hearing on disputed facts is not necessary.

An informal complaint must:

  1. Allege violations of specific sections of the Shipping Act.
  2. Be verified (sworn).
  3. Be filed within three years of the violation, if seeking reparation.
  4. Include three copies of the claim and any supporting documents (for example affidavits, correspondence, bills of lading, paid freight bills, etc).  Copies of tariff pages need not be filed.
  5. Be accompanied by a $209 filing fee.

The respondent has 25 days to file with the Commission a response to the claim.  In this response the respondent must indicate whether s/he consents to the informal procedure.  If s/he does not consent, the complaint becomes a formal complaint.  Failure to indicate consent or refusal will be deemed to indicate consent.

Please contact the Office of the Secretary for a more detailed information packet on filing an informal complaint.